Green, frugal, or both, I decided to use a mall gift card on Sunday. The card was a student gift that was still burning a hole in my purse. The mall’s parent company had been in the headlines because they just declared bankruptcy, so I decided I’d better use the card ASAP, PDQ, before it lost its value.
I started at Sears. They had pruning clippers on sale. Craftsman (warranty), on sale (frugal), sharpen-able (is that a word?): I bought one. While the clerk was running my gift card through the register, I pulled out my chico bag and said, “I don’t need a bag. I have my own.” The clerk replied, “Oh, you can’t use that here.”
WHAT??!!? I can’t use my own shopping bag? You’re forcing me to take your worthless piece of plastic? He insisted, saying it was because I’d be stopped by security if I carried merchandise in any bag but one clearly labeled Sears. I fumed and grumbled my way through the rest of the store, avoiding the clearance racks and other deals for fear of collecting any more wasteful packaging.
At my next stop, Target was actually giving away reusable cloth shopping bags to the first several hundred customers. I sighed with relief and headed to Bath & Body Works for foam soap. They let me use the Target bag and commented on how much they liked it. My last stop, Williams-Sonoma, didn’t have the cloth napkins at a price I liked, but they had some sale merchandise from Easter (okay, chocolate) that cost just enough to use up the gift card. They, too, were happy to allow me to use my own shopping bag.
Sears? I’ve heard rumors that they’re not weathering the economic downturn very well. The small plastic bag they forced on me didn’t cost the store much, but if they lose many eco-conscious shoppers like me, that’ll hurt.